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I move as if part of the doorways and
wood floors we spent days sanding.
The brown of the cupboards
is twisting into the shapes of spirits.
Blue patterned bone
china shifts its colors into the woodwork.
I know this but am not always aware.

The thing I know is he is here.

My sturdy, long fingers
hold the book of my husband’s poetry,
published only after his death.
My hands hold it like wooden
walls hold up the roof.
Flesh and wood and paper
form this small still-life.

He has been watching, softly
drifting through me for days.
He is here and knows
what his poetry has come to mean.

“Paper cannot contain you,
perhaps it may free you,” −I say.

There are images of houses
on the pages too, my paintings
also hung on wooden walls.

I still read this book
and I believe in ghosts,
for the only thing missing
is his body.

He wants to live in this house again,
he had not seen the color here before,
because he never expected death.


Jessica Purdy holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Emerson College where she also taught writing and was a reader for Ploughshares.  She has a BA in English and Studio Art from UNH.  Her poetry has appeared in Literary Mama, What is Home (the 2007 Portsmouth Poet Laureate program’s publication), Ethereal Dances, Analecta, The Beacon Street Review, and Main Street magazine.  She runs poetry workshops in downtown Exeter and facilitates weekend writing retreats on Cape Cod:  Harwich Port House Writing Retreat.  She lives in Exeter, New Hampshire with her husband and two children.

© 2011, Jessica Purdy

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